Happy Labor Day weekend to all of you baseball fans out there! Major League Baseball has a full slate of action on the schedule today with fifteen games to be played this afternoon. In the National League, the Phillies and the Mets lock horns in an NL East Division battle, with both teams trying to stay in the National League playoff hunt. The St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs match up in Chicago, with the Cubs trying to keep ahold of first place in the NL Central.
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In the American League, the Twins host the Tigers, with Detroit needing to string together some wins to sneak into the AL wild-card conversation, and the Angels host Houston and hope to take advantage of a banged-up Astros team. For our daily betting pick, we will break down the game between the San Diego Padres and the Oakland Athletics, in an interleague matchup of two of the best teams in all of baseball.
San Diego Padres (24-17) at Oakland Athletics (23-13)
The Oakland Athletics host the San Diego Padres today in the series finale of a three-game set, with the series all tied up at one game apiece. The Padres blanked the A’s in game one on Friday, picking up a 7-0 win behind a dominant seven-inning start from Zach Davies and three RBI from Fernando Tatis Jr. Oakland rallied last night to tie up the series with an 8-4 victory, led by a three-hit night from Matt Olson. The win for Oakland was their first since August 26th, as they had their series with the Seattle Mariners canceled and had lost three straight games prior to last night’s victory.
For San Diego, the Padres made a huge splash at the trade deadline when they made several moves to bolster their roster, and they look primed for a deep postseason run. The Padres continue to one of the hardest-hitting teams in the game and lead the league in runs scored and slugging. After reeling off seven straight wins in mid-August, the Padres have been a bit sluggish as of late, as they are 6-5 in their last eleven games.
Starting tonight for the Padres is Garrett Richards (1-2 4.63 ERA), and for the Athletics, it is Mike Fiers (4-1 4.86 ERA). The game total over/under is set at ten runs. The Padres are -115 road favorite. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM PST from Ring Central in Oakland.
San Diego Padres
When the Padres made headline news last weekend when they made six different trades involving a whopping 26 total players, it put the rest of the National League on notice. The Padres are here to win and win now, and with their recent additions, they are co-favorites, along with the Los Angeles Dodgers, to take home the National League pennant this year. But as we mentioned above, the Padres have been a bit sluggish recently, and are just 2-2 since the trade deadline.
While you certainly don’t want to start judging any of these moves after just a handful of games, the Dodgers aren’t slowing down out west, as they have won eight out of their last ten games and are 4-1 this month. The Padres 24 wins are the second-most in the NL right now, but they trail LA by six games in the NL West, and that lead for LA is the biggest division lead in the majors. The Padres have the talent, now they need to string together some wins to show they can truly compete with the Boys in Blue.
Garrett Richards (1-2 4.63 ERA)
There was a reason that the Padres went out and made the move to get ace starting pitcher Mike Clevinger at the trade deadline last week. Outside of Chris Paddack, Zack Davies, and Dinelson Lamet at the top of Padres rotation, the Pads have a lot of question marks on the mound. San Diego is using a four-man rotation at this point and is filling in the gaps with spot starts from a bunch of different pitchers as Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi have been ineffective and banged up.
Richards is the fourth man in that four-man crew, and with the addition of Clevinger, may very well be pitching for his spot in the rotation this week. Richards started out the season by pitching very well in his first five starts but just hasn’t been able to keep it together lately. In his last three appearances, Richards has pitched just a total of 6.1 innings and has allowed seven earned runs. If Richards isn’t able to get his act together soon, he is likely to get sent to the bullpen to finish out the season.
The Oakland Athletics are very quietly in first place in the American League West Division and have a comfortable 3.5 game lead over the Houston Astros. The A’s were cruising right along in August but haven’t been able to keep that momentum going recently, as they just haven’t been on the field very often.
After winning nineteen of their first twenty-five games in the month of August, the A’s had games postponed against the Rangers and Astros due to social unrest and then saw their entire series against the Seattle Mariners canceled, as Daniel Mengden got COVID-19. When they finally did get back on the field after missing more than a full week of action, they came out flat and got shutout in game one against San Diego. They looked like themselves last night and hope they can get back int the swing of things this week.
Mike Fiers (4-1 4.86 ERA)
The Oakland Athletics hit more home runs last year than any team in history had before 2019. In a testament to just how juiced the baseball was last year, they broke the all-time home run record and didn’t even lead the league, but that doesn’t mean this team isn’t lethal at the plate. And while they haven’t been nearly as consistent this year at the dish as they were last year, they still don’t need their starters to do all that much to give them a shot to win games.
And that is exactly what Mike Fiers has been able to do this year for Oakland. Fiers has been serviceable to good in most of his seven starts this season. He has gotten banged up a little in his four starts against the Los Angeles Angels, allowing twelve earned runs in three starts, but his 4.86 ERA on the year is serviceable, and the A’s have managed to win six out of his seven outings.
Who Do I Like?
I am a huge fan of the San Diego Padres right now. They have an explosive lineup and did all of the right things at the trade deadline to set themselves up in the second half. But the one guy that just doesn’t fit in with the rest, is Garret Richards. The Padres are a young and exciting team that is breaking all of the rules. Garret Richards is an oft-injured 32-yar old that hasn’t pitched a full season since 2016.
While Richards looked somewhat decent in his last start, he still just threw 46 pitches, and on the year, his pitch count high in a game is just 91. I would expect a short and shaky outing from Richards tonight, and by the time the Padres pull him from the game, they will be in a hole. I don’t expect Mike Fiers to be much better than Richards, but at least Fiers can get deep into games, as he has pitched into the sixth inning in five out of his last six starts.
This is an evenly matched game between two good teams that could very well end up being a preview of the World Series. When there isn’t much to separate two teams in a game, I am always going to lean on the home team.
Home dogs are my favorite play in baseball, and that is the play I am going to make today in this one. The A’s have the second-best home field winning percentage in the majors right now, with a 14-5 record in Oakland. And as good as the Padres have been, they have been mediocre on the road, as eleven of their seventeen losses this season have come away from San Diego.
Fiers should get Oakland five or six respectable innings, and I think Richards gets roughed up early and is gone by the fourth inning. This game will be tightly contested throughout, but at the end of the day, I think the A’s find a way to take care of business and pick up the win at home. Give me the Oakland A’s as home underdogs today in game three, getting +100!